University of Bath 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan

 
University of Bath 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan
The University of Bath is committed to supporting student success across all three main phases
of the student lifecycle.
Assessment of current performance
Access
1. Historically, our focus has been on widening access and improving admission of under-represented
or disadvantaged students, as this is the area where we have faced the greatest challenge. We
acknowledge that we continue to face challenges in this area and therefore our primary focus remains
access and admissions particularly linked to applicants from socio-economically disadvantaged
postcodes and those where there is low progression to Higher Education (HE). Although some progress
has been made, the rate of progress is slower than we would like. The latest HESA data (2016/17 UKPI
Table 1) show that 5.6% of our young full-time undergraduate entrants in 2016/17 came from the lowest
HE participation neighbourhoods (LPN POLAR 3 Q1) compared with a benchmark figure of 6.3% and a
location adjusted benchmark of 6.1%. Our own analysis of Acorn data on socio-economically
disadvantaged postcodes shows that only 10% of our students come from neighbourhoods in the lowest
socio-economic Acorn groups 4 and 5.
2. The University analyses the demographic profile of applicants and entrants. The age profile of
applicants and entrants remains static with applicants under 21 more likely to enter than those 21 and
over. The gap between female and male entrants was narrower in 2017 than at any time in the last five
years. In total 28% of our student body is BME (Home and Overseas students). For Home/EU
undergraduates it is 14% and for Home post-graduates the figure is 13%. The proportion of UK BME
entrants is the highest it has been for the past five years. Our analysis of individual ethnic groups within
the Home/EU undergraduate student population shows that some individual ethnic groups, such as those
who record themselves as Black and Asian (including South Asian, Chinese and other South-East Asian),
are underrepresented at the University. We have used the number of 18 and 19 years olds in England
and Wales by ethnic group as a whole as a comparator for this analysis as we are a nationally recruiting
university. Those recording themselves as Mixed are slightly over-represented. Our internal analysis has
shown that at course level access and diversity vary considerably. We are also aware through own our
research that the combination of our geographical location, subject-mix, and course structure, creates
some particular challenges for us in this area. The gap in enrolment rates between White and BME Home
applicants narrowed to 5 percentage points in 2017 (11.4% BME/16.8% White).
3. The Undergraduate Admissions team has, on the recommendation of the Equality and Diversity
Committee at the University, conducted an analysis of the differential success rates for Black applicants
receiving offers. The research project identified that the contextual data being used by the University
served as the most helpful proxy for flagging Black candidates in need of additional consideration (in the
absence of ethnicity data on the UCAS application). For borderline candidates, the interventions in our
admissions process ensuring additional consideration were effective in improving the likelihood of
receiving an offer or having a place confirmed.
4. The number of care leavers at Bath is small but we are active in encouraging access for this group.
We are part of two collaborative initiatives: LACES which consists of local universities, Virtual Heads and
local councils and is hosted by UWE; and the south western regional group of universities which
coordinates work with NNECL and Virtual Heads.
5. The number of students with declared disabilities – historically an under-represented group at the
University – has seen significant improvement over recent years, through a combination of outreach and
admissions-related initiatives alongside development of on-course provision. The University now exceeds
its HESA benchmark (HESA 2016/17 UKPI Table 7 – University entrants 5.5%, HEFCE Benchmark
5.1%). This work has provided a model for interventions and activities with other under-represented
groups across the University. The University has a particular interest and expertise in autism and

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established the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) in 2016. The centre works with and
supports people with autism, and part of the work undertaken by the centre includes encouraging those
with autism into HE.
6. The number of mature students at the University is small but analysis shows that we are just above
our benchmark and within 0.1% of our location adjusted benchmark for the proportion of mature students
from the lowest participation neighbourhoods (HESA 2016/17 UKPI Table 2a).
7. We are supporting access of applicants with care responsibilities and estranged students through
directing specific bursary support, and then evaluating the impact on their decision to select Bath. This
builds upon research we have undertaken linked to Gold Scholars and Bath Bursary holders. In April
2018 the University committed to the Stand Alone Pledge, providing: a bursary of £1,000 per year to
estranged students in addition to any other financial support they are entitled to receive; additional start-
up and graduation payments of £1,000 in their first and final years of study; a guaranteed place in
University accommodation for the duration of their course; and a named member of staff in Student
Services who will be a regular point of contact from pre-entry and throughout their course to offer
specialist advice and guidance. The University has also worked with UCAS to ensure that there will be
scope for estranged students to self-identify in future admissions cycles.
8. In 2016-17 the University amended some targets relating to admissions, in consultation with the
Office for Fair Access, which have been applied to the 2017-18 admissions cycle. We identified factors
that are both relevant in diversifying the undergraduate student population but which can also be taken
into account by those involved in selecting students for participation in outreach activities and in making
admissions decisions. Our particular focus has been on home postcode and prior school or college
attainment. These factors have also been incorporated into the methodology to identify entitlement to
bursary funding.
9. In order to improve assessment of the long-term impact of our outreach activity and the success of
our collaborative activities, particularly those with third sector educational charities, we subscribe to the
Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) service. We have also improved our capacity to monitor
progression from application through to graduation through changes to our internal reporting systems,
and can use HESA data to bench-mark our progress in supporting applicant success and progression.
This has not only assisted in identifying areas of the admissions process which are inhibiting the success
of potential students, but has also enabled the University to spot the interventions that improve applicant
success rates.
10. The University of Bath was awarded the Gold award in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework
(TEF) exercise. The TEF2 metrics for the University of Bath demonstrate very positive outcomes. Our
strengths are highlighted by four positive indicators (or flags) for our full-time students (two +, two ++).
There are no negative flags in any of our data. The University of Bath is shown to be excellent through
flags in four of the six core metrics: The teaching on my course, Assessment & feedback, Academic
support, and Highly skilled employment or further study.
11. Beyond the high-level picture in the core metrics, the split metrics show a significant number of
positive flags for the experience and outcomes of particular student groups. These cover areas such as
disability, disadvantage, ethnicity, and gender. In two cases for our full-time mode of study (Non-
continuation, and Employment or further study), the TEF2 data are identified as having flags in the split
metrics that are different from the core metrics. These are also very positive signs, since they show high
levels of success in groups where overall core data are not flagged.
12. Following the release of UCAS sector level and provider level data through their annual Equality
reports the University has undertaken its own extensive analysis of the data. At Bath the numbers of Q1
and Q2 combined POLAR3 students applying has declined slightly over the past three years. The offer
rate to those in Q1 increased significantly between 2012 and 2016 whilst this was used as the sole
measure in Admissions. In 2017 the offer rate increased for Q2 but fell for Q1, as a result of using an
increased basket of measures (Q1 and 2, Acorn 4 and 5, school performance etc.). Admissions is
continuing to work with this broader range of measures, but paying particular attention to those meeting
the Q1 measure, with the aim of showing further upwards trends in the offer rate to this group. The

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University has also significantly developed the procedure for candidates where there are mitigating
circumstances, and 2017-18 is the first admissions cycle where that has been implemented in full. The
University has conducted a preliminary assessment of the UCAS Multiple Equality Measure (MEM) but is
awaiting more detailed UCAS guidance, to be published later in 2018, before undertaking further work on
how best to incorporate this as a measure for contextual data or to assess the impact of our activities.
13. We have coupled the analysis outlined above with increased spending to enhance the University’s
understanding of the applicant pool, purchasing sector admissions data, and increasing our capacity to
target support prior to admission to those demonstrating characteristics which indicate socio-economic or
educational disadvantage by recruiting an additional staff member to support evaluation and analysis of
data. For care leavers and some groups of BME students (particularly black students) we are aware that
there may be scope to broaden our numbers at Bath, but we don’t yet know the size of the potential pool
we realistically could expect to recruit from. We will invest in securing additional statistical information
from UCAS which will enable us to define the size of the existing applicant pool nationally so we can
assess how we are performing.
Success and Progression
14. Measures of effectiveness in relation to supporting the retention and achievement of students from
under-represented groups will continue to consider completion rates, academic achievement, participation
in extra-curricular activities and development of wider skill-sets, progression to graduate-level
employment and/or postgraduate study, and whether they would recommend the University to peer
groups.
15. HESA data and TEF metrics confirm that our student retention figures are good, with few students
leaving the University before completing their courses. This is the case both for all students and those
from the lowest participation neighbourhoods.
16. We have identified, through the work of University Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee
(ULTQC) and the Degree Attainment Group, that there are issues relating to retention of mature students
and the implications on degree success for students who do not take-up placement and study abroad
opportunities. A more fundamental evaluation of progression, retention and on-course success/attainment
by ULTQC in 2016-17 has resulted in a comprehensive review of all undergraduate learning and
teaching, curriculum content (and inclusivity), and assessment methods, which will be carried out over the
next three years. The University is also trialling activities and interventions with specific groups of
students (e.g. Gold Scholars and employability/transition skills, black students and placements, BTEC
students and mathematics/statistics support) to see if particular targeted interventions have an impact on
success and progression. The Undergraduate Admissions team is undertaking a review of mature
learners admitted in recent admissions cycles to determine if there are particular factors that can be
identified at point of application or admission which could more effectively inform support work on mature
learner success. This work will be informed by findings of the review that UCAS intends to undertake
during 2018-19 on mature student access and transition to university-level study.
17. During 2017-18 the University surveyed undergraduate students about to commence their first year
on the impact of Bursary and Scholarships, as part of an ongoing programme of activity to evaluate
Bursary provision. The research focused on attitudes towards funding and money, their expectations
about the student experience, long-term career aspirations, and personal skills development. It utilised
the approach and methodology given in the OFFA toolkit, and built upon previous surveys carried out by
the University on scholarship and bursary support. The key findings showed that for those receiving the
most generous financial support from the University, the availability of additional funding was a key
consideration when selecting their institution. Our Gold Scholarship Programme (GSP) provided
increased feelings of security for the recipients, and made them more confident that they could effectively
manage their money during their degree. The GSP students also felt less pressure to seek part-time
employment, and had the greatest clarity about long-term career plans of those who were surveyed.
Historically, those in receipt of Bursary funding at Bath have outperformed the average student,
particularly in relation to securing a first class degree. This merits further investigation to determine if

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there is a causal link between greater financial security and academic success, or if other factors are at
play.
18. A mix of quantitative and qualitative measures have been and will continue to be developed to
support effective monitoring of student progress and outcome. Bespoke research activities have recently
included investigations where evidence highlights specific issues or challenges, such as: the evaluation of
activities to enhance undergraduate induction and first year student experience; degree attainment and
outcomes for Black and Minority Ethnic Groups; and the impact of professional placements on degree
attainment and employment destination.
19. Through the ULTQC and Equality and Diversity Committee we already closely monitor degree
outcomes based on gender, age, ethnicity and declared disabilities. The analysis has revealed some
small differentials (of between 5 and 8 percentage points) of the percentage of Home/EU students being
awarded 1st and 2:1 degrees and these data have been disseminated across all departments at the
University. The attainment data show males (86%), mature students (81%), BME students (83%), and
students with disabilities (85%) all slightly underperforming with reference to their comparators (females
(92%), Young students (89%), White students (90%), and students without disabilities (90%)). The
attainment gap between White students and BME students has halved over the preceding five years.
Where there are significant differences in outcomes, the University has conducted more detailed
investigation and analysis, and implemented activity to support greater alignment in degree outcomes.
Most recently, work with black students has resulted in specific interventions being developed with Rare
Recruitment to provide access to positive role models and commercial awareness, whilst the Careers
Service has improved dissemination of targeted internship and placement opportunities, and provided
specific training and skills development to prepare black students for applications to placement
opportunities. The University Careers Service now has the licenced trainers to deliver the Springboard
Sprint course for female undergraduates to address issues around confidence and resilience, whilst the
Gold Scholars Programme has run an extensive programme of activity to support students from socio-
economically disadvantaged backgrounds to support on-course participation and develop networking and
employability skills. The Lloyds Scholars Programme, which is managed by the Students’ Union on behalf
of Lloyds Banking Group, provides a complete package of financial support, paid internships, a business
mentor and opportunity to develop employability skills. It is targeted at students from household incomes
under £25,000/year who, as part of their commitment to the programme, carry out a minimum of 100
hours of community volunteering. This also builds their transferable skills and boosts employability
prospects.
20. There are growing numbers of students on the autistic spectrum disclosing their conditions. Student
Services figures show the number of Computer Science students who have disclosed has risen from 5
(July ’17) to 16 (May ’18). And total numbers have risen from 61 to 74. Students on the spectrum need
more careers support than a neuro-typical student in order to think about options and navigate through a
challenging graduate recruitment process. When looking at national employment destinations for disabled
graduates, those graduates with a condition related to autism have the lowest proportion in full time work
(33%) and also the highest levels of unemployment at 17%1. We are engaging with a number of initiatives
in this area outlined later in this document.
21. TEF metrics also confirm the University’s strong record on progression into employment or further
study. The high proportion of students taking placements and the strong research record of the University
contribute to students graduating with skills which provide a close fit with labour market requirements.
Progression into graduate employment or further study is high at the University with between 80% and
87% graduate employment/further study rates for students in all protected characteristic groups over the
past four years (2015/16 graduates and those graduating in the preceding three years). During this time
differences were: students with/without disabilities (within 6 percentage points – figures equal in one
year), males and females (within 4 percentage points – females higher in one year), White/BME (within 3
percentage points – BME higher in two years) and young/mature students (within 5 percentage points -

 1
     The National Autistic Society (2016). The autism employment gap: Too Much Information in the workplace. p5

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mature lower in all four years). Analysis by social class shows a current two percentage point difference
between NS-Sec groups 1-3 and 4-7. Our aim is to ensure that all students continue to do well accessing
further study and graduate employment opportunities.
22. The University has also researched the progression of under-represented groups to postgraduate
taught degrees through use of targeted scholarships and bursaries for existing undergraduates who wish
to progress into PG study and new applicants to PGT programmes at Bath from other UK universities,
which were agreed with the previous Director of the Office for Fair Access. In 2017 recipients of the PGT
Scholarships were surveyed, and the findings supported the value of such support in promoting study
beyond a first degree. The most recent APP Guidance indicated that from 2019-20 this type of support for
PGT applicants who were not Bath undergraduate alumni could no longer be set against OfS spending
priorities, but the University is now assessing whether there is scope to continue this provision using other
funding resources. We will continue to offer PGT scholarships to Bath alumni from under-represented
groups, in order to support progression into academia and professional careers.
 Ambition and strategy
Strategic direction of the Access and Participation Plan
23. The strategic direction of the Access and Participation Plan (APP) is the responsibility of the Deputy
Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University and is an underpinning element of the University’s
Education Strategy, which is the responsibility of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching). Both
are members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Group, which has overall responsibility for agreeing the content of
the Access and Participation Plan.
24. Activity to support the aims of the APP takes place across the University with input from Academic
Department representatives, the Students’ Union, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, Student
Services, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Office, Centre for Learning and Teaching, the Skills Centre,
the Library, Careers Service, and Faculty-based Student Experience Officers and Placement teams.
25. Our APP requires approval from our SMT and the Vice Chancellor’s Group, which includes the Chair
of the Equality and Diversity Committee. It is given final sign-off by the Chair of University Council and
University Treasurer, on behalf of University Council. Operational responsibility for the drafting and
implementation of the Access and Participation plan sits with the Director of Undergraduate Admissions
and Outreach, working with the Head of Widening Participation. Both the Director of Undergraduate
Admissions and Outreach and the Head of WP are members of the Equality and Diversity Committee and
provide regular updates to the Committee to ensure synergy with access and participation initiatives. Our
APP has been analysed using the University’s Equality Analysis framework, and demonstrates that our
access and participation strategy is designed to have a positive impact on protected groups defined by
the Equality Act 2010. Our APP has also been incorporated as a strategy to support the implementation
of the University’s Statement of Equality Objectives.
26. The University has identified a series of principles to underpin its APP. The principles encourage:
• Working closely with schools, colleges and qualifications bodies to support attainment and aspirations to
attend a high-tariff university such as Bath;
• Working in partnership with Further Education Colleges (FECs), educational charities and other strategic
partners to facilitate access;
• Providing financial support for those in greatest need, supplementing this support with additional activity
to promote successful degree outcomes;
• Providing support for students from under-represented groups to enhance student success and
progression into graduate-level employment and postgraduate study.
27. The University has been successful in supporting students from non-traditional and under-
represented backgrounds who are admitted to the University, but there remains a challenge in ensuring
that we attract sufficient numbers of appropriately-qualified applicants who have the potential to be
successful on our degree courses. The University has historically focused significant activity on outreach
with students from the local region. Proximity, subject mix and selective academic criteria for admission to

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the University has limited the value of this work in increasing and diversifying the student body at Bath.
The University has therefore amended the core priorities for the APP to place much greater emphasis on
activities that support improved progression to the University of Bath.
28. Our overall aims are to:
• Improve recruitment from our target groups currently under-represented in higher education, particularly
those from low-attaining schools or colleges, or who are domiciled in postcodes with high levels of socio-
economic disadvantage or low progression to HE;
• Further develop collaborative partnerships with schools and colleges to specifically encourage
progression to the University, and work with teachers and guidance advisers to support their advocacy of
higher education as an appropriate route for their students;
• Undertake more targeted, long-term outreach as a collaborative activity with partner organisations which
have the capacity to identify and provide sustained support for students demonstrating the academic
potential to benefit from study at the University, and work with parents and carers to assist them in
understanding the benefits and opportunities provided by degree-level study;
• Maintain a socially diverse and inclusive University community in which all students are supported in
reaching their full potential;
• Further develop our links with alumni and employers to support students into graduate-level
employment.
29. Over the course of the next year we intend to:
• Continue the development of our contextual admissions to enhance progression routes which reflect the
diverse backgrounds and qualifications our applicants offer. This includes the embedding of relevant staff
to act as advocates and provide support for applicants from our under-represented groups within the
Undergraduate Admissions process;
• Consolidate and develop our outreach activities in a targeted manner with school and college partners
who have students with the potential to succeed in entry to academically-selective higher education
courses with appropriate support, and develop conversion work to improve progression of students we
work with in outreach activities;
• Develop collaborative links with universities, schools, colleges and other organisations as part of local,
regional and national collaborative networks to widen participation. Specifically we will work with
educational charities who can assist the University in accessing students who are under-represented in
our current student body;
• Promote student success and progression through additional academic and pastoral provision and
support for placement opportunities;
• Improve links between access and participation activity and current research at the University;
• Collaborate closely with students to inform the delivery of our work;
• Continue to aim for high quality evaluation of our work, showing a detailed understanding of the drivers
influencing our programme design and collecting evidence of impact.
More information on these areas is included below.
Embedded support in Undergraduate Admissions
30. In recognition of the complexity of the intersections between class, ethnicity, gender, age and
disability, we have set admissions targets that focus upon socio-economic disadvantage and low
participation in HE by postcode, school and college performance data, and entitlement for Disabled
Students’ Allowance. These contextual factors are reviewed on an annual basis.
31. The University has embedded support for applicants who demonstrate characteristics that indicate
under-representation or disadvantage into the Undergraduate Admissions team. Currently an Admissions
Progression team takes responsibility for supporting applicants that are flagged up in the admissions
process as being from low attaining schools, or from postcodes where there is high socio-economic
deprivation or low progression to Higher Education. Students who are from care backgrounds,

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refugees/asylum seekers, mature students, students who are estranged from their family, or who have
had considerable disruption to their studies because of ill-health, family circumstance or educational
circumstance are also the responsibility of the Admissions Progression team. They advocate for the
applicant with the Admissions Selectors and Tutors, having secured any additional information from either
the applicant or their referee. This methodology, despite some fluctuations, has resulted in a small overall
improvement in the admissions success of POLAR 3 Q1 students over the past few years, (the one group
we have specifically been able to target in the last three admissions cycles from UCAS information). Our
use of contextual data is in-line with the National Council for Educational Excellence2 recommendation
that universities should use all the information available to them to identify ‘the best students with the
greatest potential and ability to reach the highest academic achievement’. Our approach has been
designed with reference to Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA) guidance3 on best practice in
this area. This may result in a standard offer being made even though GCSE or post-16 attainment or
predicted grades may be outside the normal range expected. These applicants are reviewed again at
confirmation stage if they narrowly miss the conditions of any offer made.
32. The Admissions Progression team works to enhance the applicant experience of those applying with
Access to HE Diplomas or vocational qualifications. Recognising the particular challenges that applicants
can face in recording and documenting any disruption to their prior studies, the University has revised the
guidance and documentation relating to mitigating circumstances. This also provides a much clearer
method to audit and ensure consistency when making admissions decisions.
33. The University is keen to remove any issues which may be a barrier for more disadvantaged students
making an application. Take-up of a travel bursary scheme to ensure that applicants from low-income
families were able to attend departmental post-offer open days or interview days was lower than
anticipated so the University has diverted some of this resource into development of a post-offer
Conversion Calling campaign. A pilot in 2016-17 allowed students who were flagged in the admissions
process for characteristics on school attainment and home postcode to be telephoned by a current
student from the course they have applied for to discuss issues around transition, course content, student
support, accommodation, and placement or study abroad opportunities. Those contacted were more likely
to make Bath their Firm choice when compared against a control group of candidates who were not
contacted. A more extensive programme of activity has operated in 2017-18 and conversion for WP UK
offer holders who spoke to a student was again higher than those who had not. For offer holders who fell
into our key WP priority group the gap was even higher. Recognising that not all students would have the
opportunity or resource to visit Bath, the University also piloted a virtual applicant visit day for
undergraduate offer holders. Feedback on this will assist the University in developing this format for use
in future admissions cycles.
Outreach: Continuing expansion of successful activities and further development of new areas
34. The University recognises that there is significant value in developing planned and coordinated
activities to support access and widen participation. Historically the work was not specifically aimed at
securing admission to the University of Bath as an end-point, but instead intended to raise attainment and
the desire to attend highly selective and competitive courses across the sector. The APP Guidance
confirms that we need to make even greater efforts to diversify the student body at Bath. Our own
monitoring and evaluation work and more recent sector-wide research has highlighted those activities
which are most successful and our activity is being realigned to focus on these areas.
35. For access activity we want to use outreach to create pipelines of potential applicants which comprise
the target students who are currently under-represented at Bath and who live beyond the local area. The
University places great emphasis on working with established partners who already have credibility and
expertise in engaging with our target groups (e.g. Into University, Nuffield Foundation, Generating Genius,

 2
  National Council for Educational Excellence: Recommendations, Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2008
 www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationdetail/page1/DCSF-00803-2008
 3
     www.spa.ac.uk/contextual-data/principles-contextual-data.html

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Social Mobility Foundation, Welsh Government’s Seren network) as they are able to identify and source
appropriate participants for access initiatives.
36. Outreach work is targeted on specific student characteristics where that results in a more effective
intervention, for example: mature students; those with vocational qualifications; care leavers; those from
certain black and minority ethnic groups; students with disabilities; and males or females under-
represented in certain subject-areas. Our targeting of students has developed as guidance from
OFFA/OfS has developed, and we will continue to assess our targeting of schools and colleges as well as
individual students in schools and colleges in line with government recommendations. At present our
outreach work includes the targeting of individuals based upon low income, areas with low participation in
HE, ethnicity, gender, mature students, students with disabilities (including those with specific learning
difficulties) and care leavers, and also covers the wider student groups of refugees/asylum seekers,
young carers, estranged students and those whose parents have not completed a HE course. Schools
are targeted through a basket of contextual factors including Free School Meals and Pupil Premium,
socio-economic indicators, progression to HE, school performance and Education, Skills and Training
levels.
37. The University particularly values sustained contact programmes (e.g. our On Track to Bath
programme for post-16 students, support for students taking the STEP Mathematics test and Further
Mathematics A-level) and residential Summer Schools as methods to support transition to University.
Bath also utilises teacher CPD opportunities and MOOCs to support and develop student attainment in
skills and aptitudes that best prepare students for academic study. The University has also been very
clear in not utilising unconditional offers or similar inducements to manipulate applicant decisions, and
has focused on explaining to applicants and their advisers the consequences for future success if they
under-perform in their pre-University attainment.
38. In the primary years, activities and events are largely inclusive, but targeted at areas of low
progression, low socio-economic status, or those which are feeder schools for targeted secondary
schools. Progressively, through the secondary and tertiary years, initiatives target those whose levels of
attainment suggest clear potential for admission to a selective institution, but whose achievements may
be enhanced through specific intervention and support. Given that many reports4 have found that prior
attainment is a significant factor in application and retention rates in HE, the University is committed to
subject enrichment activity, particularly in relation to science and technology subjects based on sustained
action, delivered over a number of years.
39. The University plans to continue expansion of its sustained cohort programme On Track to Bath.
This programme is now in its fifth year and has grown from an original cohort of 30 to 100 on the
programme this academic year. It is intended to recruit 150 participants by 2018. This attainment-raising
programme provides a two-year sustained contact programme of activity for post-16 students, and
includes a residential component. Students also undertake a project which can contribute towards an
offer from Bath, as well as assist in undertaking an EPQ through their school or college.
40. The University is expanding the Summer School programme, with an increased number of places.
Extensive analysis of outcomes data has now provided us with increased knowledge about the students
we recruit and their destinations, and we will continue to use this information to inform our targeting and
marketing strategies to ensure the best progression possible from these activities.
41. The University is continuing with its curriculum focussed and curriculum enhancement work. We
believe this area of work is a real strength of our outreach. The University strongly endorses the value of
project-based study in advance of commencing degree-level programmes, and has recognised the added
value of such activity when making offers to applicants for those achieving highly in an Extended Project
Qualification (EPQ), Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate, Extended Essay in the IB Diploma
and similar programmes. Students successfully completing the project element in the On Track to Bath

 4
  Staying the Course: the retention of students in higher education, National Audit Office, 2007
 www.nao.org.uk/publications/0607/retention_of_students_in_he.aspx
 Report to the National Council for Educational Excellence. Increasing higher education participation amongst disadvantaged young people and
 schools in poor communities, The Sutton Trust, October 2008

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programme with top marks also receive an alternate offer. To support students and teachers, the
University has developed a free MOOC for those taking an EPQ, which launched in September 2017 on
the Futurelearn platform. As of the end of April 2018 it had attracted over 11,000 participants, and runs on
a monthly cycle. A bilingual MOOC supporting project work and other skills development to successfully
complete the Skills Challenge Certificate in the Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma is currently under
development in collaboration with Aberystwyth University, with an intended September 2018 launch.
 42. There is recognition that provision of on-line support gives a much greater capacity for outreach work
 and work at a distance from the campus, so the intention is to undertake development of additional
 MOOCs to support student transition and success from September 2018 onwards.
43. The University wants to continue to support teachers and has introduced a free residential event
providing professional development for those who are supporting students undertaking project work. To
recognise existing expertise and build knowledge of good pedagogy in project work, the University
introduced an Inspirational Project Teacher Award Scheme in 2018. Up to five awards are given annually
to those teachers who have supported students attending Bath, with preference going to staff from
schools with attainment under the national average at level 2 or level 3, or who have supported students
who add to the diversity of the Bath student body. Recipients of the Award will be invited to contribute to
the Teacher residential event and the continuing development of the MOOC. The first set of four Awards
were made in February 2018 at a ceremony in Bath.
44. Having piloted the appointment of dedicated academic resource to support outreach work in Physics
(in collaboration with Isaac Physics) and Mathematics for Key Stage 1 through to 5, the University intends
to enhance academic support in up to five other academic disciplines in 2018. In particular the roles will
support the development of GCSE and post-16 materials to enhance curriculum content, and assist with
the development of project-based programmes, the On Track to Bath programme, and residential
Summer Schools. They will also support the work of student-led outreach initiatives (such as the Bath
Mathletes). The University also intends to enhance support for the MASH (Mathematics and Statistical
Help) programme, which assists existing undergraduates in developing relevant mathematical
competencies for their degree programmes. MASH also supports students and teachers prior to
University in developing advanced Mathematics skills and knowledge to support attainment through the
Further Mathematics Network and preparation for the STEP admissions test used by a number of highly
selective Mathematics degrees.
45. The University carried out a feasibility study in 2018, drawing on the experiences of the University of
Liverpool and Loughborough, to assess the scope for a Foundation Programme for UK students,
operating in conjunction with an FE provider. The University is assessing the results and potential
partners.
46. The University has examined various possible models of supporting school or college performance.
Within the immediate area, the impact of the University sponsoring a school or Academy would prove to
be highly destabilising as there is over-provision of secondary places in the region. Assessment of the
attainment demographics (through the NCOP) has not shown an area in the locale that would enable
effective targeting of resources to support a specific school with a high proportion of students from under-
represented backgrounds in HE. The University will continue to act as a Trustee for local academies and
support staff members undertaking Governance roles in local schools, particularly where this will develop
experience of Multi-Academy Trusts.
Developing successful collaborative outreach work
47. In 2017 the University commissioned a feasibility study to assess the viability of establishing an Into
University Centre in Weston-super-Mare (WSM). An Into Centre has now been established at Hans Price
School in WSM, and will have an official launch in September 2018. It will work with cohorts of students
who are identified as having entitlement to Free School Meals/Pupil Premium, and their parents/carers
from five primary, two secondary schools and Weston College. This is in addition to the engagement and
funding provided by the University for the Into University Centre in South Bristol (which is jointly
sponsored with Bristol and Exeter) and the part-funding and activity to be developed with the Into Centre

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in Hammersmith from 2017-18 initially for a two year period. It is intended that the engagement with a
diverse grouping of Centres will assist the University in overcoming some of the challenges faced
because of geography and local population composition.
48. The University leads on the Wessex Inspiration Network (WIN) NCOP project for the OfS and work
on the NCOP complements our own outreach work. We ensure duplication is avoided and occasionally
make joint visits where target schools overlap in order that schools are clear on the boundaries of the two
areas of work.
Promotion of student success
49. Whilst our WP performance indicators (PIs) indicate that our short- term focus must be on making our
student body more representative of society as a whole, we are also taking active measures to support
student success and progression for students from under-represented groups.
Bursaries
50. We will continue our focus on supporting students from low income families, and from 2019 entry will
be raising the threshold for those in receipt of the University of Bath Bursary and the Gold Scholarship
Programme (GSP) from a residual household income of £22,000/year to £25,000/year. This change is as
a result of receipt of student feedback and analysis of research conducted with existing Bath students,
through ongoing and extensive work carried out by the Students’ Union since 2012, and through
operational experience of the first cohort of the GSP.
Curriculum Review
51. Employing an extensive consultation process the University reviewed its Education Strategy in 2016-
17 with consideration being given to improving and enhancing the existing student experience, accessible
academic support, inclusive curriculum and successful progression. The University has now commenced
the three-year programme of renewing and refreshing the entire undergraduate curriculum, in response to
staff and student feedback.
Students’ Union
52. The Students’ Union provides autonomous advice to students and supports a wide range of groups
that support diversity and inclusivity across the University (e.g. Race Equality, LGBT+ and Enable (which
works to make the campus buildings more accessible). The SU also is heavily involved in the #NeverOK
campaign to challenge sexual harassment, and development of the inclusive curriculum. The Nightline
and Student Minds projects offer key peer-to-peer support services, particularly around mental health and
social inclusion. All student sports clubs are now required to have welfare and inclusivity roles in order to
be affiliated to the SU.
Wellbeing and Mental Health
53. A major review of student well-being and residential support in 2016-17 has resulted in an integrated
Wellbeing Service. Nine professional advisers provide face-to-face drop in sessions at two sites
throughout the year, including weekends, as well as on-line and phone support weekdays from 8am until
9pm, and from 10am until 6pm at weekends. This is supplemented by a 24 hour Accommodation Security
Service and Peer support through the SU’s Hall Representatives, who have a key role in developing a
sense of community during induction and throughout first year in University accommodation, and provide
a vehicle for engaging the student voice in decisions about residential life.
54. The University Counselling and Mental Health Service provides face-to-face and e-mail based
counselling sessions and mental health support, as well as sign-posting local and national organisations
who can assist with specific issues or concerns. The Service also provides assessments on an
appointments basis. The University is currently developing a University-wide mental health strategy.

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Disability Support
55. The Disability Service provides information, advice and support for students, including specific
assistance for academic studies, tutoring and mentoring, accessibility advice, and assisting with
applications for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. The University is currently reviewing the findings of an
access and disability audit, carried out in 2017.
Student Retention
56. As the University currently performs strongly in terms of retention, our aim is to ensure the
percentage of young full-time entrants from POLAR 3/4 low participation neighbourhoods no longer in HE
remains below 2% (this is a reduction from our original target of 5%, based on the success of our
retention strategy). We also aim to maintain our retention rates for disadvantaged students, care leavers,
and minority ethnic students at the same levels as those for the general population – i.e. above 95% for
the year after entry – and maintain our retention rates for disabled students at above 90% for the year
after entry.
57. A Student Success and Retention Adviser (SSRA) has been employed since 2017 to provide
dedicated staff resource to support students at risk of not successfully completing their studies. This post
acts as the primary contact for students who are care leavers, are estranged from their family, are from
refugee backgrounds, or who have caring responsibilities as young adults. The SSRA contacts the
students on a regular basis, assesses their academic progression, and makes referrals to appropriate
academic and professional support services as appropriate. They also administer the additional bursaries
targeted at students who have been in care, have care responsibilities, or are estranged from their
families. The SSRA works with colleagues, to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based activities
to improve student retention and success rates across the University. This involves establishing
mechanisms to identify students at risk of leaving or failing, highlighting effective and coordinated
intervention and referral strategies whilst undertaking their implementation and evaluation, and liaising
with the Students’ Union.
Academic Skills Centre and Mathematics Resource Centre
58. A major review of Academic Skills following consultation with staff and students in 2016 resulted in
the creation of a multi-disciplinary team to support development of academic skills, Mathematics and
foreign languages competencies. Communications from the Skills Centre aim to normalise access to
support and make clear the benefit of skills development to all students and not just to those with
additional needs. The development opportunities offered by the Skills Centre include: free, confidential
one-to-one tutorials and drop-in sessions provided by the Writing Centre; an extended programme of
open-access courses that now offers not only academic writing but also presentation skills and critical
reading classes to home students; academic skills provision embedded in undergraduate programmes in
all University departments; and a comprehensive programme of one-off workshops on academic skills
delivered through the Students’ Union Skills Training Programme. The Mathematics Resource Centre
provides support with statistics and mathematical skills for academic study. Particular support is targeted
towards students who have non-traditional qualifications.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
59. The appointment of a new Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in 2018 has provided an
opportunity for a full review of the role of EDI personnel and activity across the University. The EDI team,
working closely with the Students’ Union, is leading on three HEFCE/OfS-funded projects to tackle sexual
violence, religious intolerance and on-line hate crime, and is also developing links with local community
groups who seek to build a more inclusive and tolerant society. The EDI team is also reassessing existing
support for staff, and in particular will be working with Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach staff to
promote cultural awareness and provide training resources to mitigate against unconscious bias.

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60. The University continues to work to close attainment differentials for all groups where gaps exist. We
have narrowing differentials in access, success and progression for BME students, our BME degree
attainment differential has halved over the past year. We have developed new initiatives to encourage
access such as our partnership work with Generating Genius and our support of IntoUniversity in London
in high BME resident areas. Our selection criteria for intensive outreach activity will continue to include
ethnicity in order to monitor participation with the aim of encouraging entry to Bath. The University has
undertaken a comprehensive programme of activity to support BME students at Bath. This plan focusses
on academic work, social engagement and institutional structures. We will continue with this programme
of work which includes regular analysis of data for the ULTQC, cross-university dissemination of data for
clarity, identification of possible causes, complete curriculum review, increased collaboration with the
students’ Race Equality Group, increased consultation with student groups focussing on inclusion,
development of unconscious bias resources for staff and students, new reporting harassment tools,
promotion of study skills, work with Rare Recruitment to improve take-up of placements and improve
employment outcomes for BME students, analysis of BME participation in social events, and a review of
Freshers’ Week.
Promotion of student progression
61. We recognise that one measure of HE success for a student is progression into a satisfying graduate-
level destination of their choice, and that this poses particular challenges for students from under-
represented groups.
62. Employability continues to be a University priority and the particular needs of students from under-
represented groups for support in finding appropriate placements and work experience is a key focus.
The University has an outstanding record for graduate employability. A major factor in this is the
professional work placement during the degree programme which is available for all our degree
programmes, and which approximately two thirds of Bath’s undergraduates undertake. However, data
analysis from our Careers Service5 suggests that students from lower socio-economic groups would
benefit from additional support and further research has been undertaken to explore the issues and
develop activities to increase and enhance engagement. Along with Student Experience Officers, Faculty-
based Placement Officers will work closely with students to encourage them to take-up placements and
also engage with employers to identify suitable placements and internships, ensuring that the diverse
skills of under-represented groups are recognised and valued. Online resources will be developed to
support students applying for placements and to provide a framework for reflecting on and benefiting from
the experience.
63. The Students’ Union provides an extensive range of skills training sessions and workshops through
their Skills and Employability team. Delivered by industry professionals from PwC and local companies,
as well as staff and student trainers, they assist in the development of key skills that employers are
seeking from graduates. The SU also runs the Bath Award programme that provides a framework to
recognise the achievements and skills gained from all types of extra-curricular activity on the degree
transcript, and the Volunteer Recognition Scheme, which recognises the value of student leaders and
volunteers to the wider community.
64. For those students interested in pursuing a career in academic research, the Institute for
Mathematical Innovation is offering up to fifteen competitive internships over the summer of 2018 aimed
at students at Bath, or from another university, who demonstrate characteristics that indicate socio-
economic disadvantage, each lasting up to ten weeks. In addition to the internship project, there will be a
programme of training sessions that will cover presentation skills, poster designs, academic writing and
career guidance. The outcomes from this programme will be assessed to identify if it is scalable.
65. The University has appointed a member of staff in the Careers Service with specific responsibility for
supporting students who come from under-represented backgrounds, and in the coming year they will be
enhancing support for those students wishing to pursue a career in the teaching profession, as well as

 5
     The Graduate Employment Market 2011-12 and the Destinations of Bath Graduates (2010-11)

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developing the SPRINT professional development programme for female undergraduates. The University
has commissioned work from Rare Recruitment to identify activity to support the career progression for
BME students, and as a result has worked with Rare to produce bespoke activities to support BME
students forging career networks and securing mentors. This is intended to address lower take-up of
placement opportunities amongst BME students, identified as an issue by the University’s Degree
Attainment Group.
66. We are aware that there are challenges nationally for progression into employment of students with
autism, and there is an increase in the number of students disclosing autism. A collaborative programme
to support progression from university to employment for students on the autism spectrum has been
established with sponsorship from JP Morgan. It draws upon the expertise in the Centre for Applied
Autism Research (CAAR), with contributors from the Careers Service, and provides a free two-day
programme to prepare participants for applying for a job, understanding the strengths and challenges for
those on the spectrum in commencing work, and providing real-world work-environment experience at JP
Morgan’s Bournemouth Corporate Centre.

Linking programmes and activity with current research
67. Recognising that successful widening participation at Bath will requires new approaches and a
sustained strategic overview, the University continues to explore, evaluate and monitor local strategies,
working with partners where this can help to develop our expertise, and undertake funded research to
increase our capacity in this area. We are active members of the Western Widening Participation
Research Cluster (formerly the Bristol Widening Participation Research Cluster) which provides
opportunities for sharing good practice, undertaking local collaborative projects and preparing bids for
externally funded research.
68. The Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach served as a member of UUK’s Social Mobility
Advisory Group and co-Chaired the Practitioner sub-group tasked with developing effective and scalable
activities and interventions to improve access, retention and success in the sector. The Director’s
membership of the AQA Council, work with the Welsh Government on their Seren Programme,
engagement with Qualifications Wales over qualifications reform, and experience with a range of
educational charities targeting access and student success (Teach First/Futures programme, Target
Oxbridge/Rare BME access programme, Sutton Trust/Fulbright Commission access programme) provide
opportunities for the University to input and influence development of national access, admissions and
outreach policy.
69. The Head of Widening Participation is leading NERUPI (Network for Evaluating and Researching
University Participation Interventions), is a member of the editorial board of the journal ‘Widening
Participation and Lifelong Learning’ and a member of HEAT’s Research Group. The University will
commit resource to develop the Network for Researching and Evaluating University Participation
Interventions (NERUPI), working alongside other universities as well as NCOPs, HEAT and other
interested sector partners.
70. The Head of Undergraduate Student Recruitment is Chair of the Higher Education Liaison Officers’
Association (HELOA) and is a member of the UCAS Council, and sits on a number of key national liaison
groups with guidance advisers and the Student Loans Company.
71. Following consultation with OFFA in 2016, the University has funded eight doctoral studentships to
undertake research into areas of relevant interest for access and widening participation. It is intended that
these research projects will contribute to policy development, and an initial symposium to discuss the
findings of researchers at Bath working in the areas of access and participation is being planned for
November 2018. A senior academic post to focus on access and participation research was appointed in
the University’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR) in September 2017; the role contributes to the
coordination of WP research and dissemination work across the university.

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